Saturday Salon - Bo Mackison

'Prickly Pear Blossoms' © Bo Mackison

Following is the second in my once-monthly series of 'Saturday Salons' - where I'll be introducing and sharing the work of other artists who I've met along my journeys here on this great world wide web.

Today - I am thrilled to be interviewing Bo Mackison whose beautiful work you can see at: Seeded Earth Studios.

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"We don't accomplish anything in this world alone ... and whatever happens is the result of the whole tapestry of one's life and all the weavings of individual threads from one to another that creates something."

-Sandra Day O'Connor

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Can you tell me what first ignited your creative spark and love of photography?

When I was eight years old, my grandmother gave me a Brownie camera as a gift, adn I used the first roll of film to take photographs of her flower garden in full bloom. She was so pleased with the photos, seh showed them to her Garden Club when they met at our home. I was thrilled that people got such enjoyment from looking at photographs. I still love to take photographs to recapture that same feeling.

You definitely have a particular 'signature' style that is all your own. Can you speak to how it is this has evolved?

 When I began to take digital photographs several years ago, after a long hiatus from the film camera I used in the 1970s and 80s, I meant only to document the wildflowers we saw on hikes. I wanted to identify them, and it seemed easiest to photograph them and then compare photos to our reference books. Soon I knew most of the names of the area flowers, but I was hooked on taking photographs of flowers and nature. As I continued to photograph these subjects, I became more aware of the complexity of even the most simple of flowers, and I wanted to share this hidden beauty with others. I studied macro-photography on my own, and added close-up botanical photography to my portfolio.

While I also take photographs of architecture, National Parks, and landscapes, it is botanical macro-photography which is my love.

Do you have any favorite artists that you believe have impacted and influenced your work?

 My work has not only been influenced by artists, but also by an architect, an arts movement, and an environmentalist. People who see my macro-photography of botanicals sometimes say that my work reminds them of Georgia O'Keeffe's paintings. There are similarities; large scale flowers are the theme of much of our art.

Georgia O'Keeffe once said, "I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty." I also photograph flowers and plants with that idea in mind. I think many people live such busy, preoccupied lives, they seldom look at nature. In my photography, I offer them the opportunity to see what a flower or leaf looks like when it is studied closely, perhaps emphasizing a part of the flower, its color or texture or shape.

But I consider architect
Frank Lloyd Wright, the Arts and Crafts Movement, and naturalist Aldo Leopold as the the strongest influences on the development of my photography. Wright emphasized bringing nature into daily living spaces, the Arts and Crafts Movement espoused a high regard for inherent simplicity, and Leopold respected nature and the environment. These themes -- providing art that brings nature into the home, using simplicity in the photographs to highlight the beauty of natural things, and maintaining respect for nature and the environment as I practice my art -- all are important components of my photography.

You call your blog 'Seeded Earth'. How did you come up with that title?

I began my blog as a daily photo blog, intending to take photographs of flowers and gardens. I realized that these objects of my photographs all began as tiny seeds in the earth, and so I used the name Seeded Earth Photography for my blog. Later I changed the name to Seeded Earth Studio to include both my photography and writing.

I see you've taken the giant leap to showing and selling your stunning artwork at art fairs and festivals. Can you tell us about that?

In February of 2010, I attended a large, juried art fair with friends who were familiar with the art fair world, having exhibited in art fairs for more than 15 years. The woman is my creativity coach, and we explored the natural step from selling my photographs to the possibility of me doing art fairs. With encouragement and lots of passed on information, I signed up for several local shows near my Wisconsin home. It took me many shows to become comfortable in my art booth, but as I developed confidence in myself and my art, I fell in love with doing art shows.

Exactly a year later, in February of 2011, I returned to that large art festival as an exhibitor. I then spent the winter researching art shows and sending in applications, jury photos of my art and my booth, and waiting for replies. My many hours of hard work paid off and I was accepted into a dozen well-established, quality art festivals in 2011. I am doing art festivals in the Midwest -- Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan and Indiana -- this summer and fall, then I will return to Arizona to do the winter shows in the Phoenix and Tucson areas.

I have a full schedule of shows which keeps me incredibly busy, but that's a good thing, I have discovered that I am addicted to being an artist on the art fair circuit and exhibiting my photography.

You can see more of my work and my scheduled art fairs over at my website: Seeded Earth Studios.

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